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Ballast is a name for very small pieces of broken up rock that are packed together and keep the railway tracks in place.

congestion (on roads)

A condition in transport that is characterised by slower speeds, longer trip times, and more queues.


Like hooks that connect the carriages.


Something that is released into the environment e.g. smoke from a fire, fumes from a car.


A person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or structures.


Part of a train wheel which sticks out from one edge all the way around. This makes sure the train does not "derail" (come off the track) and helps guide the train on sharp curves.

freight train

A train for carrying goods rather than people.


The distance between the rails on the railway track.

greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere. Overall, greenhouse gases are a good thing. Without them, our planet would be too cold, and life as we know it would not exist. But there can be too much of a good thing. Scientists are worried that human activities are adding too much of these gases to the atmosphere.


Public and private physical structures such as roads, railways, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, and telecommunications.

level crossing

The point at which the railway crosses over either a public or private road on the same level.


An engine that provides the power for a train.

locomotive engineer

Train drivers who control the train.

long-distance train

Trains that travel between many cities or regions of a country, and sometimes cross several countries. They often have a dining car or restaurant car to allow passengers to have a meal during their journey.


An area alongside a railway track giving access to trains.

public transport

Bus transport is the main form of public transport in New Zealand. Auckland and Wellington also have suburban rail systems. Some cities also operate local ferry services. Aeroplanes are also part of the public transport network.


Wooden or concrete beams that connect the rails and keep the correct space of gauge.


A unit of weight in the metric system, equal to 1,000 kilograms.


A series of connected carriages that run along a railway track.

train control

Responsible for the safe movement of trains and people across the track network.


A person unlawfully on railway property (ie without proper authorisation).


Supporting frame under the body of a train carriage/car. The undercarriage has the wheels, brakes, suspension, and couplers.

urban rail network

Train service between city centres and suburbs or nearby towns that acts as a daily mode of transport for travellers.


A long bridge-like structure, typically a series of arches, carrying a road or railway across a valley or other low ground.